When these remixes and vids were first introduced into our class discussions, the initial gut reaction I had was that we were examining films made by fanboys and (forgive the implied insult) TV geeks who were producing nothing more than flashes of their favorite science fiction content set to cool music. However, given the extensive reading and analysis from the first half of the semester I found it impossible to maintain this much-too-simple attitude and was able to apply concepts that we had talked about in early cinema to the read/write content that we have watched in class.
There is undeniably a balance of spectacle and narrative in these vids/remixes similar to that present in early cinema but possibly taken to a whole new extreme. These vids have a message and they are telling a narrative. Whether it be about Lex Luther, Scarlett, or Sam “slash” Dean these vids have a narrative carefully constructed by the artist, and diligently analyzed by the viewer. The message however is fused into the spectacle naturally by the medium. We have discussed how one of the major criteria for these vids is that they are professionally edited, visually exciting, and set to effective music. These are all elements of spectacle. Unlike many of the early films that we watched in the first half of the semester, we do not have films that are purely narrative or purely spectacle, or where we have a narrative that pauses for spectacle. For these vids and remixes the two are inseparable.
What makes all of this work is the element of audience participation and self-reflection. Now one way in which this functions is that if you are watching a vid about a particular show it is probably because you are a vidder yourself and a fan of that show. Right away this engages you as both a fan/viewer/critic as well as an artist/participant. But what brings this audience engagement to a higher level is that the tools that vidders are using to create both narrative and spectacle are actual pieces of the subject matter and therefore provide commentary of the audience. By showing a series of clips in rapid secession of the show “Supernatural,” you are illustrating what an audience of that show watches, and are using the medium of vidding to comment not only on the show itself but also on the audience for continuing to watch that show.